Editor’s note: This post is written and provided by Momondo.
Songkran is the celebration of the Thai New Year and it’s essentially a three-day, country-wide water fight. While this festival is often a place for visitors to come and participate in the revelry, there is more to the festivities than New Year’s celebrations: statues of Buddha are washed and cleaned, and temples and homes are purified.
Of course, getting through Songkran can be a challenge, but if you’re well prepared, you’ll have a great time. Preparation is key of course, so here are a few tips to help with your arrangements.
What exactly happens during Songkran? Should I be worried?
Songkran can be very overwhelming. Thousands of people gathered in the streets throwing buckets of water and powder at each other – the thought is unsettling – but there’s no need to be worried! The festival is about purification, and the country has a very convivial atmosphere. Be prepared to get drenched and don’t be surprised if people offer to wash your hands, it’s a friendly gesture.
Of course when you give people buckets of water, water guns and hoses, things can get out of hand – especially in places where there are a lot of travellers. Just keep an eye out – though not too wide or you might end up with talc in it!
Which cities should I go to?
Songkran is celebrated among several communities across Thailand and choosing your city depends on the experience you’re looking for.
There are famous (infamous?) Songkran cities, like Chiang Mai and Bangkok, where you will have colourful parades and thousands of people on trucks throwing buckets of water at each other.
Alternatively, cities like Nong Khai and Khon Kaen have smaller celebrations and more of an emphasis on the tradition with folk plays and food fairs.
It’s up to you to decide where you would spend Songkran, though another option would be to visit a few places since they are held on different days in some cities!
How should I prepare? What should I bring?
You will be soaked. Accept it. Thailand is really hot at that time of year so you won’t be cold or anything. Keep a stock of balloons, water guns and buckets – though you will find stalls on the roadsides that sell these things.
Be mindful of the clothes you bring with you. Don’t pack Prada unless you intend on wearing a waterproof jacket the entire time – and even then…
Wear comfortable shoes that dry quickly. Cheap flip-flops aren’t the greatest idea – you’ll feel quite sorry when they break and you have to run around the streets of Bangkok barefoot! Wear waterproof sunscreen – it’s hot out there.
What should I not bring?
Leave your personal belongings in your hotel if you don’t want them wet. Cell phones, cameras, iPads … they’re all better left in your room. Of course, if you really want photos, investing in a waterproof cover and lens protector is a sensible idea.
If you’re planning a trip to Songkran, check out flight comparison website momondo – they’ll help you find excellent value flights to Bangkok!